Meet Sunshine, the INFJ Hedgehog

personality test type chart

I recently took one of those Facebook “tests”. You know, the ones that reveal your hippie name, which woodland creature you are, or what state you should be living in. If my results can be trusted, I’m Sunshine the hedgehog from California! These tests are fun, but usually leave me a bit annoyed at the time I have wasted taking them. This test was different. It was a Myers-Briggs personality type indicator test, and the results left me deep in thought and intrigued to learn more.

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers published the first questionnaire in 1962. But they began researching and creating the personality preferences in the 1940s after extensively studying the work of Carl Jung. Jung believed that everyone experiences the world through four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking, and that one is dominant most of the time. Katharine and Isabel took this theory and, through their questionnaire, gave it a practical application. They believed it would “help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs that would be ‘most comfortable and effective’ for them.”*

Today, the test is frequently used for team building, career counseling, marketing, leadership training, life coaching, personal and professional development, and marriage counseling.

The results of this personality test revealed that I am an INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging (I have since taken a different version and got the same result). Continue reading

On The Run

This is an excerpt from my memoir, More Than Everything.

In this part of the story, Shane and I are on the run from the FBI and we have made our way to Alaska. Shane has just picked up a hitchhiker…against my better judgment. It is the summer of 1985.

This is me in 1984
This is me in 1984

The drifter and Shane exchange fake names and after looking through him for a second or two I turn my attention back to the countryside outside my window.  With a southern accent the guy says he’s from Tennessee.  I don’t like his long, greasy dishwater blond hair, his cold dark eyes, his large biceps, or his quiet, guilty manner.  My mind races through one bad scenario after another wondering what brought him to the side of the road between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.  I think to myself that he has surely committed far greater crimes than those that have landed me and Shane here.  He doesn’t talk much and I’m convinced that what little he does say must all be lies.  I catch him staring at me once or twice and it makes me nervous.

Shane is calling himself Roy.  It is hard for me to call him that but I have no choice.  In my mind he does not look like a Roy.  He should have let me pick the name I was going to have to call him.  Chase would have worked because he is on the run, or Mark or Steve or anything but Roy.  But he didn’t ask me.  He just makes me call him Roy, which ironically, means king — another reason for me to hate calling him that.  When you’ve been with a man named Shane for seven years it is not easy to suddenly start calling him Roy, but I do it, and I’m proud of myself for not slipping up so far.  I don’t get to pick an alias for myself.  I think I would like to have been called Grace for a while, but Shane knows he would slip up, so he doesn’t even try.  I am still Vanessa, but only a wrung-out, tired version of myself.

There isn’t much talking as we drive north through the middle of the night, the Alaskan summer night that doesn’t grow dark.  It just grabs onto the smudgy end of the daylight and holds onto it like a blanket until morning when the sun burns it away and the world is bright again.

The three of us eat cheeseburgers at a picnic table in the 80° Fairbanks sunshine sometime the next day.  When you don’t have a clock or wear a watch and it doesn’t get dark, it’s impossible to know what time it is.  There is no routine to help keep you grounded.  No time clock to punch.  No dinner to cook.  No alarm clock to ring.  There is just a nagging feeling of impending doom as the hours come and go unnoticed. Continue reading

When Your Ghost Has Worn Out Her Welcome

The cloying aroma of too much perfume clung to the air as I came through the back door. I enjoyed being the first one to arrive at work in the mornings, but I did not like being bombarded with the sickly sweet fog of the resident ghost’s perfume. It was as if she were standing right there spritzing me in the face with it – maybe she was.

Before taking the job, I had been warned that the building (a two story house that had been converted into an office) was haunted. In my interview, I was told, “The house was built in the 1920’s and, among other things, was once a brothel where murders occurred.” Oh boy.  My boss joked that he was more worried about what kind of bad karma the previous tenants (lawyers) had possibly left behind. Ha. Ha. He continued by saying that, “To date, the worst thing anyone has experienced is an odd occasional noise, and cold spots that send chills up your spine when you walk through them.”

While the daily perfuming continued, I began noticing another strange occurrence. After a client meeting I would clean up the conference room and push in all the chairs. A few minutes later I would walk past the conference room door and see that one chair was pulled away from the table and turned to face the east wall. I’d push it back and it would pull away again, over and over. While I never actually witnessed the chair move on its own, it would always be repositioned the next time I passed by. Finally, I started leaving the chair in its eastward-facing position. It seemed happier that way.

Sometimes I’d be upstairs in my office and I would hear the back door open and slam closed, which usually indicated a co-worker had arrived. But no one was there. I’d wait to hear footsteps on the stairs, or for someone to say, “Good morning!” and there was nothing. Often, I’d get up and go look out the window, onto the parking lot below, only to find my car the only one in the lot.

Just your average work-place ghost having a little mischievous fun. No big deal. None of this activity really bothered me. I’d even talk to her sometimes. I assumed it was a female because of the perfume, and because of ‘a feeling’ I had. We co-existed and got along as well as a human and a ghost can when occupying the same space, until the day the microwave oven talked to me. Continue reading